Just as Bob Dylan sings in his classic song Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again, "Oh Mama can this really be the end," the 2012 fantasy football season has come to a close and we all must wait months until we draft again and the Foster vs. Martin vs. AD debate begins. Despite losing two semifinals games, my son and I managed to come in 2nd place in total points and 3rd place in one of the leagues, both which garnered a small prize. Yet, we play to win and no one remembers the runner-up. I hope that many of you took home your championship trophies and that some of the pointers in this column and on FFChamps.com helped you earn the bragging rights for your league.
While the traditional fantasy football league season is over, there are several playoff fantasy football games available online, all with different formats. NFL.com is offering a playoff game and if you become a http://www.ffchamps.com/ member for next season before the first wild card game kickoff, FFChamps will give you a Patriots.com $30 discount and a free entry into our awesome fantasy football playoff game as well, running wildcard week through the Super Bowl. The advice and strategy are top-notch and you can win great prizes. In next week's 1st and 10, I will be providing playoff league strategy and tips as well as taking a look ahead to the 2013 draft.
In both of my leagues, and I am sure in most of yours, the finals were dictated by the performance of a few players who had insanely high scoring weeks, some that we expected and others that were surprises. If you had Matt Ryan, Ray Rice, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Dez Bryant or Megatron, you got so many points you likely won your finals. Ryan produced his best game of the season as did Roddy White and Julio Jones. If you happened to have a Ryan and either WR as a tandem, you were unbeatable. Dez was a fantasy monster down the stretch, with 224 yards and 2 long TDs in Week 16. If you had Dez and were worried about his broken finger, I hope you followed FFChamps commandment No. 10: Thou Shall Start Your Studs. Marshawn Lynch was also superb, with 111 yards and 2 TDs.
Unfortunately, several studs decided to pick Week 16 to no show. Eli Manning was dismal last week and in all playoff weeks. The Giants are in an epic collapse and Eli was at the heart of it. Victor Cruz did absolutely nothing in the fantasy football playoffs after performing all year. Others who laid an egg when it counted were Arian Foster, who had 15 yards on the ground last weekend, and Frank Gore, who had 28. While I warned about Gore tiring all season long, one does not expect Foster to cost them a championship. Big Ben and Mike Wallace also did nothing for their owners, with Wallace netting 13 yards and Big Ben throwing costly picks leading to the Steelers elimination from the NFL playoff race.
On to my 2012 Fantasy Football Awards. These are Player of the Year, Sleeper of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Best Draft Pick of the Year, Disappointment of the Year and Enigma of the Year. It is important to note that these awards are fantasy football performance awards, which is different than these players' performance from an NFL statistical and team standpoint.
Player of the Year: Drew Brees. This one is a no-brainer. Brees was the leading point scorer for all positional players in almost all fantasy football scoring formats. He was consistently great and put up an average of 26, 35, and 42 points in playoff Weeks 14-16. Brees' worst game was 16 points, indicating he had no disastrous performance weeks that cost his owner a game. Unfortunately for the Saints, Brees' fantasy football success did not translate to the Saints success as they missed the playoffs after a tumultuous season filled with suspensions, interim coaches and the one of the league's worst pass defenses. Honorable mention goes to Adrian Peterson.
Sleeper of the Year: James Jones. A sleeper is a player whose average draft position is the 5th round or later and while Brandon Marshall and Dez Bryant each had spectacular years and exceeded all expectations, and Doug Martin was a stud from Week 1 (he will get his due here), Jones went un-drafted in all three of my leagues and remained on the waiver wire in all leagues through at least Week 4. Jones led all WRs with 13 touchdowns and had 3 TDs in semifinals Week 15 and 100 yards and a TD in finals Week 16. While Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson commanded the high rounds in all drafts, Jones was the sleeper pick of the year.
Rookie of the Year: Doug Martin: No other rookie positional player finished in the top 5 in fantasy points at their position and the Muscle Hamster was the second highest scoring RB in most scoring formats, knotting 10 TDs, 1312 rushing yards and 454 receiving yards through Week 16. Martin is a candidate for first overall pick in 2013.
Best Draft Pick of the Year: Adrian Peterson. AP blew away all running backs in points and in hindsight and deserved to be and should have been the perennial No. 1 pick in all drafts. In most leagues, AP's recovery from an ACL led to him being drafted anywhere from the 9th pick of round 1 to as late as the 3rd round in one of my leagues. The Vikings are 9-6 and in playoff contention and that has occurred on the back of AP, who took it up a notch when Percy Harvin, the Vikings only other offensive weapon, went down with a season ending injury. AP has 1898 rushing yards, 254 receiving yards, and 11 TDs through Week 16, with a chance to break 2000 yards in Week 17.
Disappointment of the Year: Eli Manning. As a Patriots fan, I am thrilled to give our nemesis this award but Eli finished 163 points behind top scoring QB Drew Brees and absolutely stunk from Week 8 on, posting -- get this -- five single digit fantasy point games. That is unheard of for a QB. Sorry Giants fans but your QB finished behind Sam Bradford in the fantasy football point standings. Enough said.
Enigma of the Year: Cam Newton. This was an easy decision. Newton was drafted as high as the top 3 in many drafts and by the early second round in almost all drafts. By Week 5 he was benched by many fantasy football owners, yet even his early weeks, while not as bad as they seemed, were not first-round worthy. I heard many owners say he cost them their season in the early weeks of 2012, yet, as predicted strongly here in this column, he was simply awesome starting in Week 12 as the Panthers started to turn things around. As a fantasy owner you never want to be in the position of not knowing if you should start the QB you drafted first, as Newton waffled between FFChamps.com stud, borderline stud, and bust.
Remember to become a www.FFChamps.com member for next season by the Saturday, January 6th Wild Card kickoff and get the Patriots.com $30 discount and the chance to play in our playoff fantasy league at https://www.ffchamps.com/subscribe/, and visit http://www.ffchamps.com/ for around the clock rankings, strategy, and one on one advice, all the way through your Fantasy Football Championship. FFChamps.com: Extraordinary Results for Fantasy Football Dominance.